12 ¶ And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
15 ¶ And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
24 ¶ Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 ¶ But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Lot had at least two other daughters who were married and the angels told him to give them the warning to get out. Because of Lot, these wicked people are being given a chance. But, it seems that not ten good people can be found in this city. The angels declare their intention to destroy Sodom because of its wickedness. Lot’s son-in-laws, however, think he’s joking. You can imagine what would happen if you were to tell your children that two angels visited you and announced that they were about to destroy your town for its wickedness. They would think you had lost your mind, would they not? But, this is prepared for them because of how evil they had chosen to be.
The day dawns, the time of judgment has come. But Lot lingers. Who wouldn’t with two married daughters and their families refusing to leave? The angels give him no choice and removed him, his wife, and two daughters that lived at home out of the city.
They tell him not to look back. How hard would that be? Two families of their own left behind make this a painful thing to bear. Lot is afraid to follow their command to escape to a nearby mountain. Remember the mountain that the fleeing armies of Sodom and Gomorrah fled to in 14:10? Although afraid of something about it, some evil perhaps, he will wind up there anyway and great evil will overcome him. By requesting permission to flee to a small village the angels agree to spare it for his sake although all of the other towns of the plain are destroyed as if in a nuclear holocaust we might imagine.
Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, a part of this judgment. Would you not look back if you had at least two married daughters and their families being killed in a holocaust that you knew was a judgment from the Lord, who would not heed your warning and perhaps even pleading to escape? What sorrow she must have felt. What horror? Think of a married child that you have and imagine what this would be like.
This brings to mind that we are not to look back although we do it all the time. We lament and regret what we did and did not do that has brought us to a place of loss. We grieve for what could have been. But, we are not to look back. Our sins are forgiven and we are to look forward and to trust God’s justice and judgment.
In the context of deciding whether to follow Him immediately or to take care of unfinished business first Jesus said;
Luke 9:57 ¶ And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Paul declared his desire to look ahead this way.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [that is to know Christ as Christ knows him] : but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In leaving this world behind and escaping the judgment God has planned for this world Jesus makes this note.
Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.
We are not to look back. Our greatest times, our most perfect joy, is ahead of us, with Christ. We may not understand now why a child refuses Christ, a parent, a friend, and we may grieve at their loss, but, in the end, we must keep looking forward. Too many Christians in America are crying about where their country is headed, wanting to elect a national messiah or some sort of national pastor, continuing to look back. They rip verses out of context in the Old Testament regarding Israel and keep ranting about “turning America back to God”. They keep looking back at Sodom.